Frédéric is currently Director of Marketing Solutions for Colt Technology Services.
According to a recent study by the SMB Group small businesses that work together are more likely to succeed, in fact collaboration could make a real difference to your whole business performance. The study states that small businesses that reward team achievements are:
13% more likely to be forecasting revenue growth than those that reward equally, and 6% more than those that reward Individuals more 7% more likely to be satisfied with achieving business goals than those that reward equally, and 10% more than those that reward Individuals more.
(2011 SMB Collaboration and Communications Study, SMB Group)
Of course, collaboration is not always easy. People work at different paces, with varying schedules and often find it difficult to make the time that team work requires. There are also the operational and security issues that can make collaboration seem daunting. However, technology can help bring colleagues together and address projects that require multiple stakeholders and team involvement.
1. Use email wisely. It’s by far and away the most used tool for collaboration, but can still produce multiple work streams and access problems. Make sure you have an email service that can be web accessed, tied into your smartphones and kept up to date with spam guards and anti-virus.
2. Talk can be cheaper. Sometimes you require a regular check-in on a project over the telephone. Make sure you use the most cost-effective solution you can, such as VoIP, even better if you can run your calls through a dedicated, private network. This also offers extra flexibility for conferencing – no set-up costs, a pay-as-you-go model if required and desktop sharing.
3. Cloud collaboration. The basis for a good collaborative platform can be found in a virtualised server. Tools can be accessed on a secure LAN sat behind a firewall for ease of working. They’re quick to start running and back-up is provided as standard. There are many different tools you can use online to help you collaborate, from established solutions like Sharepoint, to more recent products such as Huddle, Basecamp or Creatly. It’s worth investing some time in thinking what a good solution for your team might be.
4. Stay connected. Working online has its advantages, but make sure you have the right connection for the job, a resilient line with good bandwidth capability. You should also investigate a flexible billing solution too. Again, using a virtualised server solution could provide you with previously unforeseen savings.
5. Keep your project secure. A strong firewall is still a necessity for any business that works online and with multiple logins and collaborators you can never afford to be too careful. Choose a solution that allows flexibility for all your business needs, but insist on network level filtering on IP addresses and port numbers. Even a virtualised solution is heavily protected with effective security. Peace of mind leaves you to address the important issues.
Getting your team collaborating for success is now easier than ever. Contact us to find out how a product like Smart Office could help you and your team get started.
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